In light of the Thanksgiving holiday, I wanted to share some selections from St. Thomas a Kempis’ Imitation of Christ.
Great is the difference between a visitation from above, and a false liberty of mind and great confidence in one’s self.
God does well in giving the grace of comfort, but man does ill in not returning all to God with thanksgiving.
And therefore the gifts of grace cannot flow in us, because we are ungrateful to the author of them, nor do we return all to the original fountain.
For grace always attends him who is duly thankful, and from the proud shall be taken what is wont to be given to the humble.
I gladly accept that grace whereby I am ever made more humble and timid, more ready to renounce myself.
He who is made learned by the gift of grace, and taught by the stroke of its withdrawal, does not dare to attribute any good to himself, but rather will acknowledge himself poor and naked.
“Give unto God that which is of God,” and ascribe to yourself what is your own: that is, give thanks to God for his grace, but to yourself give the blame, and note that your punishment is deserved for your fault.
Put yourself always in the lowest place, and the highest shall be given to you, for the highest cannot stand without the lowest.
Those who are settled and grounded in God can in no way be proud.
And those who ascribe all unto God, whatsoever good they have received, do not seek glory of each other, but wish for the glory which comes from God alone, and desire that God be praised above all things in themselves and in all the saints; and they are always tending to this very thing.
Be therefore thankful for the least, and you will be worthy to receive the greater.
Let the smallest be to you as the greatest, and that which is of less account as a special gift.
If you regard the dignity of the giver, no gift will seem small or very cheap.
For that is not small which is given by the Most High God.
He who desires to keep the grace of God, let him be thankful for the grace given, and patient when it is taken away.
Let him pray that it may return; let him be cautious and humble, lest he lose it.